With gun haters in political office, the forcible citizen disarmament lobby and the mass media still gorging themselves in their post-Sandy Hook Elementary "feeding frenzy," talk of an impending major advance in gun rights, particularly in a state like Illinois, which has for decades suffered under brutally anti-gun rulers, seems bizarrely incongruous.
Such talk is nevertheless underway, with the Quincy Journal reporting that even the state legislature's rabidly anti-gun Speaker of the House Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) is arranging hearings on the issue:
House Speaker Mike Madigan on Thursday set a pair of public hearings for later this month to focus on concealed-carry legislation.
“In light of events in recent months in Illinois and in other parts of the country, it’s appropriate and necessary that we give a full vetting to proposed state legislation on this matter,” Madigan said.
Click here to find out how to make your voice heard at those hearings, even if you cannot attend in person.
Madigan has over the years played a significant role in thwarting efforts to bring legal armed self-defense to Illinois, using the power of his position to shunt concealed carry bills to hostile committees, so they never come up for a floor vote, insisting that such legislation would violate "home rule," and would thus require a 3/5ths majority in each chamber, rather than a simple majority, etc.
Why the sudden reversal? Not a change of Madigan's black heart--a heart that would rather see a 71-year-old woman, licensed to carry a firearm in many states (but not the one in which she lives and pays taxes), brutally beaten and left for dead by a recently paroled felon, than see her legally defend herself (see sidebar video).
No--the reason is that in December (just before the Sandy Hook atrocity), the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Illinois' outright ban of defensive firearm carry (openly or concealed) violates the Second Amendment, and gave the state six months to correct this unforgivable injustice.
If the state has not done so by June 10, Illinois' gun carry ban simply disappears, leaving no enforceable regulation on the carrying of firearms. Constitutional carry, in other words. Going from being the very last state with no provision for legal defensive firearm carry, to one of the first to have no restrictions whatsoever, would be a dizzying change, and the notion is an absolute nightmare to gun-haters like Madigan.
So why help him and his allies pile infringements on that which shall not be infringed? Representative Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg) has, his party affiliation notwithstanding (in Illinois gun politics, geography tends to mean a lot more than party affiliation), been a longtime ally of Illinois gun owners, but his HB 997, the "Family and Personal Protection Act," is hardly the stuff of shall not be infringed, and in fact would be, probably, the most restrictive "shall issue" licensing system in the country--before any Chicago area Democrats amend it to make it even more restrictive.
Granted, one reason to try to pass concealed carry legislation, rather than waiting on the court order to kick in, is that Attorney General Lisa Madigan (Rep. Michael Madigan's daughter, and no less anti-gun than her father) has filed an appeal to the 7th Circuit Court ruling, sending it back for an en banc hearing before the entire circuit, rather than the three-judge panel that overturned the law in the first place.
The court has the option to not take up the appeal, and will not, unless six of the ten judges vote to do so--and even Madigan's chief of staff admits that such an agreement for a rehearing is something she "doesn't see that often." If the circuit refuses to take up the case, or agrees to, but upholds the original ruling, Madigan will still have the choice of appealing to the Supreme Court.
Still, it seems a gamble worth taking. With the Second Amendment's protection of the individual's right to keep and bear arms a settled point of Constitutional law, and with the Fourteenth Amendment's extension of the enforcement of that right against state and local governments also a settled point, why not force defenders of state-mandated defenselessness to explain how the right to keep and bear arms only covers "keeping," and not "bearing"?
A "right" contingent on the government's permission is no right at all, and Illinoisans have no reason to be willing to ask for that permission.
- 'Licensed' defensive handgun carry: Are we doing it wrong?
- Is AG's FOID data dump ruling a diversion to thwart concealed carry in IL?
- Savagely beaten Illinois woman pleads for right to defend herself
- Law enforcement support for concealed carry in Illinois still growing
- SAF sues Illinois over prohibition on self-defense carry
- Second Amendment Foundation files lawsuit against Illinois self-defense ban
- Illinois stands alone in banning armed self-defense
- Using the courts to remind Illinois of the 'bear' in 'keep and bear arms'
- Right to keep and bear arms in Illinois: For country folks only?
- SAF wins big over Chicago, appeals in another IL case
- Fight for concealed carry in Illinois just beginning
- Prominent Second Amendment attorney foresees ‘shall issue’ carry in Illinois
- Illinois about to default to constitutional carry?